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Forged in Purgatory

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Modern Migrant Entrepreneur

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Mr Ji gives a voice and a face to the daily realities of 200 millions of modern migrant entrepreneurs in China, who seek a better life in a rapidly changing society. This is the world’s largest human migration in history. Mr. Ji left his home of farmers in rural Renyi Shandong province and came to Shanghai to earn a living and support his family. He opened a small breakfast stand preparing his secret hometown recipe for “Cui Bing” (crispy pancake). His story is similar to hundreds of millions of people in China today and is similar to the “bright lights big city” phenomenon of countless societies in transition, where rural residents seek to improve their fortunes by leaving their ancestral homes.

Mr Ji came to shanghai because people say that “one can become rich in a developed city. The pancakes that I sell are very popular in my town and some people have made fortunes by selling pancakes. The secret is to have the right mix of ingredients and control the temperature properly to make them crispy. I sleep 2 or 3 hours a day because I have to prepare the ingredients for the next day at home. That is the situation of all the people from my town doing business in Shanghai. My generation is not afraid of working hard to give our children a brighter future.”

If you are in Shanghai and want to continue the conversation with Mr. Ji, you can visit him at the address below. He loves to chat.


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iChinaForum Viewer Visit to Mr. Ji

May 28, 2011 by iChinaForum, 5 years 52 weeks ago
Comment: 2

We went to visit Mr. Ji last week and he told us that someone went to his store to buy a pancake and said "hey, I've seen you on the internet". He was very pleased with his newfound celebrity and asked us to encourage other iChinaForum viewers in the Shanghai area to drop by to chat any time.

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About Ji Dehao

Dehao Ji headshot
Dehao Ji has been selling delicious Shandong "Cui Bing" in Shanghai for over 4 years. Mr. Ji prepares his Cui-Bing with pride using only traditional ingredients. Shanghai, like many other urban centers, attracts people from all over China and boasts diverse local delicacies from China's provinces. [Full Bio]
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